Category Archives: Balochi Music

Balochi Folk Music on Suroz

By Babar Baloch

The suroz is a bowed string instrument with a long neck, similar to a fiddle or sarangi and played vertically. It is considered the national instrument of the Balochs. – “Notwithstanding the emergence of a strong nationalistic feeling among the Baloch population both in Iran and Pakistan, the existence of pahlawan (professional singers of verse narratives), and the love for suroz (a bowed instrument played as an accompaniment to narrative songs and considered to be the national instrument of the Baloch) among the educated classes, there seems to be no future for the oral tradition in Balochistan.

Attired in a traditional Balochi costume and holding a decorated Suroz (a local musical instrument) in his left hand with fingers on its strings, Suchu Khan is out to conquer the world with his music. “Race, colour, language, they are no barriers for me. At my concerts abroad hundreds of youth dance on my tunes in jam-packed auditoriums. It is all very heartening,” he says. Suchu Khan is a recipient of the prestigious Tamgha-i-Imtiaz conferred on him by the president of Pakistan. His is a familiar name among folk music lovers not only in Balochistan but throughout Pakistan. Those who hear him play the Suroz do not let him go away before playing popular folk tunes for them. Suchu Khan was born in 1962 at Sui, Dera Bugti, and hails from a family famous for Suroznawaz whose male members hold the ancestral tradition of playing it for centuries. It was his uncles Zehru and Tungau who discovered the talent in Suchu at a very young age and encouraged him to learn how to play the instrument.

Suchu was also fascinated by the melody of the instrument and accompanied his uncles to performances — be it tribal gatherings, stage or radio stations. He is grateful to them for what he is today. “They were great teachers,” he says proudly. “One needs a lot of dedication and hard work to learn the Suroz. Beside that, one needs a good teacher. The Suroz is played with the help of fingertips which is not at all simple.” Encouragement from his audiences over the years has meant a lot to Suchu Khan. “Once just after my performance, Ata Shad (Baloch/Urdu poet) came on stage and kissed my fingertips. It was a great moment for me. Since then I have received many awards and appreciation but I have never been able to forget his gesture. Even today I often visualize the scene after every performance. It helps me work harder at my performances,” he says. He admits that surviving on music is tough and the journey has been a long and turbulent one. “There are many talented artistes in Balochistan who are not as fortunate. They hardly get noticed. One finds exceptionally talented musicians and singers among the Balochi nomads.”

Suchu is a widely travelled artiste. He had performed in the UK, France, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Greece, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Thailand, Philippine, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Abu Dubai and Dubai. “Wherever I go, my pride on being a Pakistani goes with me,” he says. While abroad, he says he considers himself a cultural ambassador of Pakistan. “People ask me questions about my country, province, art, language and culture. “I tell them that Pakistan is quite rich in art and music. Suroz is a part of our heritage since time immemorial and I explain to them how this instrument is carved out of wood of the Parpuk tree that grows wild in Balochistan. They take a lot of interest and sometimes ask me to sell it to them,” he laughs. He expresses generous gratitude to all who encouraged him, specially the music production team of PTV and Radio Pakistan, Quetta. “They promoted me and my art. Without their patronage it would have been difficult. Had there been more like them, it would have been good for folk music,” he says. “I intend to set up an institute where I will teach talented youth how to play the Suroz. I want this tradition to continue and this art to live longer. It can be promoted through apprenticeship programmes under Lok Virsa or the arts councils network, provided they engage veteran musicians to pass this art on to the next generation,” says Suchu Khan.

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Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Balochi Music


Nāku Faiz Muhammad: the biggest name in the Balochi Musical World

By: Hamid Ali

If, therefore, we take a glance over the kinds of the Balochi Music, we see that in this field a lot of best and famous names, such as, Mir Ashraf Durra Gichki, Rais Darbish, Begum Jan, Mullah Ibrahim, Mulla Ramzan Rami and others1. But we want to discuss here about the sweet-voiced Late Nāku Faiz Muhammad Baloch “Paizuk”. About the above-mentioned and Balochi Music my new book “Zeimer Darya” (the sea of Music) is due to come soon, this is first book on music with pictures. Inshallah, the time is very near that this treasure of music will be in your hands. Nāku Faiz Muhammad Baloch; yes, the leader of the Baloch artists Nāku Faiz Muhammad Baloch was born at Kasar Kand2 in 1900. His respected father name was Bashir Ahmad Baloch, who was the residence of Iran. Nāku Faiz Muhammad was interested to learn Damburag3 and Balochi dance at the age of fifteen. Nāku Faiz was a singer who visited different countries of the world, such as, Africa, east and west Europe and the biggest and famed countries of the Asian continent. And enlightened the Balochi art and music, and he let the Englishmen danced with his music and sweet tone. Beside, Naku Faiz got his first marriage at the age of eighteen at Turbat and got a child named Master Muhammad Shafi. Nāku Faiz Muhammad came to Karachi to earn his livelihood and settled in Lyari Karachi, and started business and laboring. Naku Faiz got his second marriage in Karachi.
In the second marriage, he got four sons and four daughters. The musical Ustād (teacher) of Naku Faiz Muhammad was a famed singer Faiz Muhammad Ramzan Rami a resident of Pasni or Gwadar. And he learnt music from him and learnt other light music from Ustād Khair Muhammad.
He worked in the Radio Pakistan Karachi in 1948. At that time, he had visited Russia, America, Germany, China, Canada, South Korea, Spain, Afghanistan, Aljazair and Britain and enlightened the name of the Balochi language. Naku had also learnt Hindi and Sindhi music. It is said, that the Damburag was his fingers play. Nāku had managed his first musical show at Singolane Sarbazi village(Karachi) in the marriage of late Abdul Ghafoor Sarbazi.
He maintained the musical show till seven days and people came to participate in it from every part of Liyārī. Nāku had endured a lot of hardness. He hard labored at the daytime in Kimāŕī and served the language at night time. His struggle and distresses have a long story. From morning to evening, heat-stroke of summer and harsh cold of winter, he worked hard for legal earnings for his children and at the night time he facilitated the unease life of the people with his sweet music and voice and sung songs for the people. This was the reason of finger segment disease of Nāku. But it was his greatness that he never complained to others. He passed his unfavorable circumstances with joy and happiness. The greatness and goodness was that, he demanded nothing from the Government. The Radio and TV of Šalkōt (Quetta) were in the hands of unfair persons, and still the pasture of ills.
They had only some unskilled musicians, lazy and dull. The policy of unknown persons of Islamabad became changed and the doors of Radio and TV were opened in Šalkot. This was the happiest time of Naku’s life. This was another matter, that the rights of Nāku Faiz Muhammad were embezzled by the luxurious officers. The disloyal life of Nāku crinkled its face and darkened itself untimely, and the nation till today suffering this.
From Nāku Faiz Muhammad till today, the artists have done more, but he was the unique person, if you see the next side of the mirror, that is bad and unclean. Without Nāku Faiz the artists (Baloch artists) are backless. No one had the sense to let someone coming behind them. If someone has two sons, one is a banjo master and other is a drumbeater, they are not called real artists. This is a sorry state, that someone could took the path of Nāku in the field of singing and music, but it was not so. Nāku took his art with himself and went away.
Only Manzūr Bulaidī, son of Murīd Bulaidī is well prepared in this field. It is expected that he will enlighten the name of Murīd Bulaidī. It’s a state of sorry, that the sweet-voiced singer Jāduk took his art to the grave. The Balochi (language) is therefore, not developed, but the sky of it was broadened but voiceless. The artists have adorned the sky of expectations like a bride, such as, Ustād Muhammad Shafi, Ustād Imam Bakhsh Mastana, Ustād Imam Bakhsh Majnoon, Ustād Rasheed and other who say themselves Ustād.
Our artists are said to be as Ustād. According to Qayyum Sarbazi, I and other folk musicians don’t know who the Ustāds are. It is the custom of the world that, Ustad is he, who is a learned and trained man, and teaches others. In the schools they are called master and in the colleges and Universities, who teach the students are called lecturers and Professors. They are called Ustād.
Basically, advisor of every work is called Ustād. He provides knowledge and education. But it is a sorry state that our some artists have still hidden their arts, and they do not touch them. Knowledge and art are not the things to be hidden; these bring changes when they are used. These (artists) are behind the popularity and money. There are some young singers in them who are very famous today, but they have famed themselves by money. They also call them as Ustad. If they had worked whole-heartedly, they would have created fifty or sixty disciples approximately. The disciples would have become Ustad. But oh the unknowingness! The artists are very worried that if the youngsters were encouraged then they will lose their hegemony and no one asks them i.e. they will lose their earnings. Among the old artists, Ustad Abdul Sattar, Ustad Noor Muhammad Nooral, Ustād Ghulam Rasool Dinarzai, Ustād Wali Muhammad Baloch and somehow Ustad Abdul Aziz are the personalities who have worked a lot in the Balochi art. Their works are admirable. Credits also go to Ustad Jumma Khan, who is leading the new generation in Pasni. This news spread everywhere that the artists are poor and deprived class and every one knows about their distresses. People would be happy, if they (artists) were prosperous, but what is the sin of this distressed nation? The deprived and distressed artists have kept stones on their chests, endured the nights and lullabyed their sons for forthcoming expectations. The biggest disease among the artists is nonunification. These “fortunate” artists do not tolerate each other. They waste most of their time criticizing each other and consider backbiting sweetness of their mouth. Some objective-less people come to the clubs of the artists and work as message-conveyer. The work of these types of fraud people makes disputes among the artists. According to Qayyum Sarbazi, this job has been made a habit.
Allegation, conspiracy and revenge are pouring like rain and the experts are doing their job. The knowledge of revenge of the artists is as gushed out that (Sar-rech)“Sar” (head) has lost; “Rech” (to pour) is darkened and terrible because of their deeds. The clean-hearted and sympathizing nation is closing its eyes over the artists, feeling sorrows upon them. This news is like the strong rock, losing, and intoxicatingly uprooting itself. What will be the destination of this un-ended and unadvised destination? Every body knows it.
It seems that the national artists are senseless, and why they do not open the eyes of the truth? To what destination they ride the horse of self-makings? How many things would be there in the pack saddle of lie and allegations? Is anyone become famous of cutting down their hands? The famed artist come to the sense; do not burn your homes that ashes are not costly. That is it, before the Nehing (river) and Bolan will take you away, be careful of it. Today’s time is in your hands but tomorrow’s? No one knows about tomorrow, behind the power of unification and amity, the sky trembles and the wind takes way the mat of an individual.
We were discussing about Naku Faiz Muhammad, but we went onward, these things were necessary to be discussed. Take this news with yourself. If there was not Naku Faiz Muhammad Baloch, neither there would be Mureed Bulaidi, nor Muhammad Jaduk and Muhammad Shaif, neither abdul Aziz and nor Akhtar Channal and Sabzal Samagi and other singers.
That’s why, Nāku Faiz Muhammad has made a structure and color on the Balochi musicAnd God may alive him till doomsday. This fragranced garland if for the neck of Nāku Faiz Muhammad, that is spread today in every aspect of the Balochi Music. At last, Nāku was a part and parcel of Radio Pakistan Quetta where he suffered in ill. And he left us and passed away on 6th may 1980, but, when the artist dies, their arts alive. It’s said that the artistes never die………….


1. The above-mentioned names are renowned musicians.
2. Name of a town in Iranian Balochistan in which the total population is Balochi speaking. Kasar kand is
the ancient name of this town but the Iranian government has changed the name into Qasr e Qand…
3.One of the primary Balochi musical instruments, which has been a part and parcel of the Balochi classical
music from centuries

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Posted by on June 13, 2011 in Balochi Music


Baluchi Music Has Risen From The Heart of History

Balochi Soroz

By: Ashraf Sarbazi

That music which we hear nowadays in Baluchestan differs with genuine Baluchi music because of many reasons. One of these reasons is the big distance between Baluchestan and the capital and lack of attention by former regimes to the impoverished and far flung region. Anotherreason is that Baluchestan neighbors Pakistan and is influenced by Pakistani Baluchi music as well as Indian music.

From ancient times this region has had close commercial and cultural ties with India. The Indian influence was also due to the fact that Baluchestan was too distant from the central governments in Iran and was ignored by these governments. By exploring the root of such influence we will come across geographical and historical facts. Aside from dynasties such as the Sogdians whose seat of government was in Sistan and Baluchestan during the second century A.D., lack of roads and communication with interior parts in the country where Iranian culture prevailed, was another reason that physically and spiritually exposed Baluchi music to Indian culture.

Although the Baluchi tribesmen are strictly religious and fanatic, the musicians are treated as confidantes and intimates and they are permitted to play in private parties where women are also present. However, Baluchi women do not play musical instruments and only sing songs mostly in groups and behind the curtain and where their voice cannot reach male ears. One can rarely find a woman in Baluchestan to be a professional singer in wedding, birthday, circumcision and other festive parties. The musical instruments through which the Baluchi singer pours outs his/her restless and deep sentiments, are genuine instruments such as Tanburak (the small guitar), Setar (three stringed guitar), Qalam (a flute divided into five or six sections), the pitcher, the oboe, ordinary and small kettledrum, the tambourine and roebuck or Hijdah (eighteen) Tar.

Another native musical instrument in Baluchestan province is banjo on which many changes have been made and it has been converted into a native instrument in the Sind Province in Pakistan. Eighty percent of the population in Sind Province are composed of various Baluchi tribesmen. The most famous banjo player in Sind was the late Lavarborji who had descended from Dashtiari Baluchi sect in the Iranian Baluchestan. The next native instrument in Baluchestan is Dongi (whose Pakistani name in Sind Province is different). Dongi includes a pair of male and female flutes. The best Dongi players in Baluchestan who had universal fame came from the Siri tribe and were called Mesri Khan Jamali and Khabir Khan Jamali. Banjo and Dongi are so intermingled with other Baluchi instruments that have become naturalized in Baluchestan. The preservation of tribal traditions such as Sepak, Shabatagi, Liloo, Sote, Liko, Laloo, etc. which are accompanied by music, has helped this remote Iranian province to retain samples of genuine Baluchi music. Moreover, one can find singers and musicians in Baluchestan who are devoted to their traditional music. The singers and musicians who have inherited the art from their ancestors from generations to generations are called Pahlevans. “Pahlevan” is a combination of “Pahloo” and “Van”. Pahloo is derived from Pahlavi language and means brave and powerful. “Van” means a singer. Meanwhile in the Baluchi language “Vang” also means singing. Therefore, “Pahlevan” means one who shows bravery and chivalry.

Here we will briefly refer to several examples of genuine Baluchi music which is now popular in Baluchestan. Sepad which means praise are a series of melodies which are sung after the birth of a child. Such songs continue for 14 nights while the mother prepares herself to wash her body. Sepad is sung only by women and by groups and is aimed to help the mother to forget the pains that she has suffered during child delivery. In these songs they mostly praise God, the Prophet (peace be upon him) and the elders of the religion and wish health and happiness for the mother and the newborn. Vazbad also means laudation and are a group of songs which are sung by either a single lady or a group of ladies and responded by another group. Such melodies which continue for about 14 nights at the newborn’s house, praise God and the Prophet for bestowing a child to the woman.

Shabtagi is another rite in Baluchestan. When a baby is born the lady’s relatives, neighbors and friends assemble in her house in the evenings and at times stay all the night and pray for the health of the mother and the baby. They congratulate the relatives for the newborn and sing poems in a soft tune accompanied by the oboe and tambourine. These poems and songs are known as Shabtagi which means to remain awake in the night. The majority of Shabtagi melodies are in praise of God, the Prophet, the Prophet’s companions and elders of religion in which they congratulate the mother and the father and wish health and a brilliant future for the newborn. During such rites they officially sing the Azan (Muslim call for prayer) into the baby’s ear which means that the newborn is a Muslim. Shabtagi songs help the mother to forget her labor and refreshes her spirit and bestows strength to her body. Moreover, the Baluchi tribesmen believe that evil souls and evil wishers await in ambuscade to attack and harm the mother and the newborn by talisman and by magic spells. For example they believe that Jatooq who is a devil and sorcerer will devour the child’s heart and liver. Jatooq is believed to be an evil and cunning woman who longs for her newborn which she lost during delivery. She envies the others’ children and harms such women. The Baluchi women believe that Jatooq’s evil spirit secretly devours the baby’s heart and liver and for that reason they must not let the mother and the new born remain alone for a minimum of three days and nights. As a result they assemble beside the mother and the child and recite the Quran.

Shabtagi extend from 6 nights to 14 nights at times to even 40 nights according to the family’s financial condition. Loola is another song which is sung during festive occasions such as wedding parties and has different meanings. But Laloo shesghani is specially dedicated to the sixth day of the baby’s birth. In this song the singer appeals to Almighty God, the Prophet and His blessed family for a happy life for the new born. For example if the baby is a boy, they wish him to be brave, true to his promise, a good swordsman, truthful, kind, hospitable and pious, obedient to elders and other good qualities which is admired in the Baluchi culture. But if the newborn is a daughter, they pray her to be chaste, faithful, a good housewife, truthful, hospitable, kind to her husband, brother and sisters and faithful to Baluchi culture. The christening and circumcision is often performed on the sixth night of childbirth and during that night femaleguests are entertained by food, perfume, and oil.

Liloo or Looli is in fact lullaby which the mother sings to put the child to sleep. Zayirak is the most melancholy melody among the Baluchis which complains of separation, from unkind darling or miseries of life. Zayirak or Zayirik is accompanied by doleful melodies and the music is played only by Qalam or flute. However, nowadays Zayirak is played with banjo as well. This is a long, monotonous and doleful music which is played with drum and the notes are repeated with slight difference. Zayirak is divided into various branches among which the most famous ones are Ashrafdor Zayirak, Janoozami Zayirak and Zamerani Zayirak. When you hear Zayirak it seems that you are sitting at a melancholy coast listening to the repeated sad notes of the flute with the Gheichak. This resembles the sea waves which start with violence at first but as they approach the coast the tempest subsides and at last the ripples find peace at the seashore. The music starts with a shrill tune, rises to its peak, then gradually subsidies and grows silent. Then after a short pause, again the flutes wail shrilly, and the episode is repeated again and again. Zayirak is sung with or without musical instruments and is sung for the absence of close relatives, such as father, mother, brother, sister, daughter, son, wife, a mistress and even for absence from one’s homeland. Zayirak is derived from Zahir which according to the Dehkhoda Encyclopedia means remembrance, sadness and a wish to meet the beloved one. Zahir also means melancholy and dejected. Formerly Zayirak was sung by women during their daily chores specially when they gathered near the mill to grind their wheat into flour. At those times the melody was sung alternately by two groups of women. Such a method of singing is no more observed these days. Nowadays Zayirak is only sung by men by Flute, Gheichak and Banjo.

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Posted by on May 1, 2011 in Balochi Music


Music of Baluchistan

Balochi Soroz

By: M. T. Massoudieh

Melodies in the music of Baluchistan are usually connected with particular ceremonies (marāsem), usually religious rites, festivals, or holidays. The principal religious rites are exorcism (gwātī), ecstasy (māled-e pīr-e pataṛ), and mourning (majāles-e tarḥīm); the most important festivals and holidays are weddings, childbirth, circumcision, date harvesting (hāmīn), and wheat harvesting. The relationships between melodies and particular ceremonies are reflected in their names.

Līkō and Zahīrōk. These are vocal forms (āvāzī) and are sung when one is away from close relatives, friends, a beloved, and even from one’s country. In the beginning Zahīrōk was only sung by two groups of women, who in the course of their daily work would exchange melodies. This method of performance is not common today; in practice Zahīrōk is sung by male singers accompanied by a short-necked fiddle (sorūd, also surōz, or kēčak, Pers. qeyčak).

The Līkō and Zahīrōk, which contain similar texts, differ in that each is common to a particular area of Baluchistan and that each has different melodic characteristics. Līkō is most common in Sarḥadd-zamīn and Zahīrōk in Mokrān (Makurān). Among the characteristics of the Sarḥaddi style is the repetition of hemistichs which are performed in one period, usually composed of two sentences or two melodic figures. The first sentence or figure of the period has an unfinished quality, while the second sentence or figure evokes a feeling of completion.

Kordī (Kurdī). The text of Kordī, like Līkō and Zahīrōk, evokes the suffering arising from distance and separation, but in Līkō and Zahīrōk the suffering is real, while in Kordī there is only remembrance of separation. The text is usually in the dialect of Rūdbār and the region between Īrānšahr and Bampūr. Kordī was also initially sung by women when working with stone handmills used for making wheat flour; however, this is no longer the custom. Kordī, like Līkō and Zahīrōk, has free meter. The name Kordī may suggest that this āvāz was associated with a branch of the Kurds in Baluchistan.

Mōtk or Mowtk. These are for the ceremonies of tarḥīm, the assembly convened for the blessing of the dead and mourning. The text of this āvāz describes the virtues of the deceased and the sorrow of mourning. On this basis Mōtk can be counted as a type of elegy (marṯīa). Mōtk is usually performed by a group of women without instrumental accompaniment. The verses (bayt) and refrains (tarjīʿband) are sung alternately by two groups of singers or by soloist and group. This way of performing appears to be no longer customary. Mōtk, like Līkō, Zahīrōk, and Kordī, is not strictly metrical.
Šayr (Šeʿr). This is an āvāz with poetic text consisting of epic stories, romance, historical events, social narrative, advice, etc. The poet (šāʿer), also called pālavān (pahlavān), performs Šayr with instrument and voice. Baluchi pālavāns sing of historical events, thereby preserving the history of Baluchistan orally. Šayr is usually sung in gatherings of important people or khans; on rare occasions it can also be performed at wedding ceremonies. The instruments accompanying the performance are the plucked, long-necked lute (Bal. dambūra, Pers. tanbīra) providing a rhythmic drone, and the sorūd (qeyčak). The most important and well-known Šayrs current in Baluchistan are epic Šayr, including Mīr Qabar, Čākur wa Gwaharām, Ḥażrat Adham, and Moḥammad Ḥanīfa; historical Šayr, including Jīhand Khan and Dādšāh; love Šayr, including ʿEzzat wa Mehrōk, and Še (Šayḵ) Morīd wa Hānī; social narrative, including Mīr Pasond Khan and Morād Khan (see also on Baluchi literature above).

Gwātī. This term, literally “windy” or “windiness,” is also used to designate depression believed to be caused by an evil spirit disturbing the psychosomatic equilibrium, for which another term is jenn-zadagī (spirit possession). The use of gwātī as a musical term arises from the belief that only music is able to rid the possessed body of unclean spirits and restore it to health by means of a trance. Belief in unclean spirits is found both in Baluchistan, in particular in its coastal regions, and on most of the Persian Gulf coast. The most important types of evil spirits are the zārs (for the names of which see Rīāḥī, pp. 4-5), dīvs, gwāts, and jenns, further distinguished by gender and creed (Muslim or non-Muslim). Different instruments are used to exorcise different spirits, e.g., for a zār only drums (lēvā) are used, but gwātī ceremonies (leʿeb) use all of the instruments current in Baluchistan, mainly sorūd and double flute dōnelī performing a specific repertory of songs and instrumental pieces. The word mūkām (maqām: mode) in Baluchistan is attributed to instruments that participate in the customs of gwātī. A kind of dance, or stirring, not unlike that of the dervishes, is an indispensable part of the gwātī ritual. When the participants are men, the dance is called damāl and the leader is always a man, called ḵalīfa. Female gwātī dance may be led by a man or a woman. The generic term for the leader of the ceremonies is gwātīe māt (lit. the mother of gwātī), whether a man or a woman (today most often a man). The most famous gwātīe māt was a woman from Mesqaṭ by the name of Zaynab. In deference to her, the ḵalīfa and the instrumentalists sing the following line at the beginning of each gwātī: Zaynab gwātīe māt-int, ḥalwā na wārta Zaynabā (Zaynab is the mother of gwātī, Zaynab has not eaten ḥalwā). The gwātīe māt first diagnoses the existence of gwāt and then fixes the precise stages of the patient’s convalescence (daraja-ye kopār), choosing the music used in the ceremonies. The ritual is performed every night from three to seven or even fourteen nights, depending on the type and severity of the disease, and ends with a sacrifice. The text of the āvāz of the Gwātī includes praises (madḥ) dedicated to the mystics Laʿl Šahbāz Qalandar, buried in Sehwān (Sind), and ʿAbd-al-Qader Jēlānī (Jeylānī, Gīlānī; qq.v.)

Māled (Mawlūd) pīr-e pataṛ. The ceremonies of māled, which last only two to three hours, are most common in the coastal regions of Baluchistan, but are now gradually being forgotten. In māled the āvāz is accompanied only by the drums called ṭabl and daf (single skin frame drum, called samāʿ or māled); only in exceptional cases is the oboe (sūrnā) also used. The leader of the māled ceremony, who sometimes plays the samāʿ himself, is called ḵalīfa. The ceremonies of māled are in one sense parallel to those performed at the Qāderī meetings of Kurdistan. Reaching ecstatic states during the ḏekr, some participants of māled (called mastān “the drunk ones”) insert swords, knives, and daggers into their bodies.

The following āvāz are used in marriage and childbirth ceremonies:

Nāzēnk. This term means “worship” or “praise” (verb nāzēnag) and in the first place designates praise of the bride, groom, and newborn baby, but also of God. Nāzēnk is sung at the following times: when the groom is taken to the bath, after returning from the bath, when the bride and groom are seated on the “throne,” and during the first six nights after childbirth.

Lāḍō and Hālō. Like Nāzēnk, Lāḍō (Laylō, Layiarī) and Hālō are particular to marriage ceremonies. Both Lāḍō and Hālō are performed before and during the groom’s bath, but in addition Hālō is used during the ḥanā-bandān ceremony on the eve of the wedding day. Lāḍō is named after its refrain: lāḍō lī lāḍō.

Šaptākī (also Sepat). This is an unaccompanied āvāz with poetry praising God, his Prophet, and the great religious figures recited by relatives and friends gathering in the room of the mother during the night after childbirth. The ceremony lasts from six to forty nights, depending upon the family’s finances. The āvāz is usually performed by two groups of singers who alternate singing verses and refrains.

Sepat, Wazbat, and Nāt (Naʿt). Sepat is also sung during childbirth ceremonies in honor of the mother. The text of Sepat or Wazbat is also devoted to the praise of God, saints, and great religious figures. Nāt is performed chorally during Šaptākī ceremonies and like Šaptākī is an āvāz with lyrics that extol and eulogize the Prophet, his descendants, and the other prominent figures of Islam.

Sawt (ṣawt). This term is applied to many melodies in the music of Baluchistan, accompanied by any of the instruments current there. Its lyrics are about love or joy and are called šayyānī sawt. The performers of Sawt, called sawtī, perform in engagement, marriage, and circumcision ceremonies and other celebrations and holidays. (The term is also applied to short poems, not necessarily intended for singing.)
Bibliography :
L. Mobaššerī, Āhanghā-ye maḥallī-e manāṭeq-e jonūbī-e Īrān I, Tehran, 1335 Š./1956. ʿA. M. Aḥmadīān, “Mūsīqī dar Balūčestān,” Majalla-ye honar o mardom 183, 1356 Š./1977, pp. 57-65. M. A. Barker and A. K. Mengal, A Course in Baluchi, Montreal, 1969, II, pp. 263-349 (contains samples of poetry and metrical analysis). J. During, Musique d’extase et de guérison du Baloutchistan. Anthologie de la musique traditionelle iranienne, Paris, 1981 (a record with a notice on the gwātīs). Idem, Musique et mystique en Iran, Ph.D. dissertation, Strasbourg, 1985, pp. 166-370. J. Kuckertz and M. T. Massoudieh, Volkgesänge aus Iran, Bässler Archiv 23, 1975. M. T. Massoudieh, “Hochzeitslieder aus Balūčestān,” Jahrbuch für musikalische Volks- und Völkerkunde, Berlin and New York, 1973, pp. 59-69. Idem, Mūsīqī-e Balūčestān, Tehran, 1364 Š./1985. Idem, Tajzīa wa taḥlīl-e 14 tarāna-ye maḥallī-e Īrān, Tehran, 1353 Š./1974. ʿA. Rīāḥī, Zār o bād o balūč, Tehran, 1356 Š./1977. Qureshi and Burckhardt, “Pakistan,” in The New Grove’s Dictionary of Music, London, 1980.

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Posted by on April 7, 2011 in Balochi Music

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